Depression : What you need to know

Depression affects close to 300 million people around the world and approximately 3 million Australians. It is a very real and debilitating illness. Almost everyone knows someone affected by it –  often we are unaware that that person is suffering. You only have to look at the number of celebrities, those that seemingly ‘have it all’, to understand that depression can affect anyone, no matter how perfect their lives appear or how wealthy and happy they seem to be. Here’s what you need to know about depression.


 What is depression?

Depression can often dismissed as self-indulgent or a condition that can be quickly resolved. This couldn’t be further from the truth. We all feel down at some time, sad or lonely, and understand that is just life. When you feel this way for weeks, months or even years, often with no good reason, chances are you are suffering from depression and it is not just something that is part of life that has to just be accepted. It’s a serious ailment and one you should definitely seek help from your GP for.


What are some of the signs that you are suffering from depression and should seek out help:

  • You feel continuously sad, often for no reason.
  • You feel regular bouts of worthlessness, anxiety or emptiness.
  • You struggle to get up in the morning and feel lethargic and fatigued on a regular basis.
  • You have trouble making decisions or remembering basic things.
  • You feel helpless and that life is often not worth living.
  • You have trouble sleeping.


What causes depression?

It’s difficult to pinpoint what causes your depression as there are multiple factors that can play a part. These include genetics, specific life events like trauma or death of a loved one, and early childhood experiences, some of which you may not consciously remember. Day-to-day stresses can build up into something more serious and result in depression. Depression can develop at any age, from teenagers to the elderly.  Depression is also associated with other seemingly unrelated illnesses like diabetes or heart disease often making these conditions far worse than they already are. Even medications you take for any range of illnesses may have certain side effects including depression.


Dealing with depression

There are many ways to deal with depression, many of which involve changing your lifestyle or mindset. The GPs at Alma Village Medical Centre are there to help you identify where issues lie and will help you determine the best course of action for your circumstances.  It’s really important that if you are having symptoms of depression that you know that are not alone. Talk to friends or family members and seek medical help. It’s best not to keep it to yourself thinking it will just go away, as often when you are in this state seeking advice is the best way to get through.

As there are many treatments for this condition, you should ask your GP to get the best advice. They may recommend that you see a psychologist, trial medication or recommend a referral to a psychiatrist in severe cases.


If you do feel that you are suffering from depression, there are critical factors you need to realise:

  • You are not alone.
  • It is a very real illness.
  • It can affect anyone from any walk of life.
  • It is treatable.
  • Getting help is the best way to understand and overcome the troubling thoughts and feelings.


If you think you suffer from depression or know someone who does, speak to someone or reach out to them. We don’t always know what’s going on under the surface of people we love or care about. Don’t be scared to show people you care. It means more than you think.


The following are a list of free or low cost online resources to assist those who are suffering from Depression.